The state parliament in New South Wales, Australia, made history by hosting its first-ever Chanukah celebration. Organized by the regional headquarters of Chabad-Lubavitch, the event – the first such party since the parliament’s inception in 1856 – drew prominent politicians and dignitaries, including Premier Nathan Rees and Opposition Leader Barry O’Farrell, legislators and community leaders.

Richard Torbay, speaker of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly, accepted a silver menorah from Rabbi Pinchus Feldman, dean and spiritual leader of Sydney’s Yeshiva Center, on behalf of the parliament.

In his remarks, Feldman drew a comparison between the Chanukah menorah and parliament, whose motto in Latin translates to “recently risen, how brightly you shine.”

“This is a perfect message for the evening,” said the rabbi, pointing out that the lights on the menorah increase with each passing day of the eight-day holiday, which begins the night of Dec. 11.

The presentation of a menorah mirrored similar gifts bestowed on Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Governor-General Quentin Bryce during the dignitaries’ recent visits to the Yeshiva Center.

After the party, MP David Clarke addressed the body, noting that the historic celebration spread a “positive and uplifting message … not only for our Jewish community, but also for those like me who come from a non-Jewish background.”